Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers.

MY BEST FRIEND

An owl and a mouse are really close friends—kind of.

Mouse and Giant Owl have lived together ever since Giant Owl caught Mouse—er, brought Mouse to the tree, where Giant Owl is generous with the doughnuts. The thing is, while Mouse appreciates the friendship, some alone time would occasionally be nice, yet Giant Owl seems always to be around. Mouse reasons this is “because Giant Owl loves me so much.” It must be why Giant Owl gives great birthday gifts like a house (read: cage) equipped with its own lock, whose key Giant Owl carefully holds onto. Then, after a sleepover, Mouse wakes up in an unidentifiable, dark, round space. Giant Owl’s nowhere to be seen—by Mouse, that is. However, hilarious illustrations show readers exactly where Giant Owl is and what’s going on. Giant Owl’s on a branch, battling severe dyspepsia and making wretched gastrointestinal noises before letting out an otherworldly belch (printed in oversized type that takes up a page). As a result, Mouse blasts out of Giant Owl’s roiling innards and, still clueless, thanks Giant Owl for the rescue. This riotous tale is truly a hoot, owl or no. The wittily dry narration, simply expressed in Mouse’s sweetly naïve voice, is comically adorable, and the colorful, very expressive mixed-media illustrations serve the rollicking shenanigans perfectly.

Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4834-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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